It says on my voter registration form that I moved to Colorado in September, but it’s more accurate to say that I stopped moving in Colorado. After eight months of living out of a backpack, or a car, or the guest rooms and couches of parents and friends (and parents’ friends and friends’ parents, thank you all) I drove through a cloudy sea of sunrise down into Denver and spent the next week doing nothing but laundry and walking three dogs.
And then two months went by. All the photos I had been dying to dig into once I had my proper editing monitor back, and the stories I wanted to tell about everywhere I’d been, slipped under the comfort of sleeping in a bed that was my own. They buried themselves in piles of raked leaves and shoveled sand and stacked patio stones. They stood quietly at the edge of a group of delightful new friends, appearing briefly in flashes, swiping past on a smartphone held across a table, or in a politely concise anecdote. "Ecuador was wonderful, and I loved moving through the mountains", I'd say, to no one's real satisfaction. But the comforts and efforts of having a home dimmed any urge to even think about travel and adventure, and fora while, I cannot say I minded that.
When that light flashes though, in those polite, enthusiastic, incomplete anecdotes, I can and do recommend that you go to the places I went. You should go because they are beautiful and diverse, and so very different from each other, and you will have your own adventure there. But you won’t stand at the windswept rim of a volcano with the same marine biologist I did, as parting clouds reveal a mine at work below, extracting the sulfurous heart of the mountain. You won't argue and apologize in the same sweaty room of a riverside boarding house because you misread the boat schedule and your friend is hungry and tired and would rather not stay here another night. You won’t get to watch the sun rise over the infinite ocean of clouds that obscure the view of your new home, unless I take the time to tell you about it properly.
Back in July, when I first drove through Denver, I rode a bicycle across the city with my cousin, to see a movie, which is something I love to do in a new place. A bicycle covers more ground, with less effort, and without impeding the desire to stop and look at whatever might catch your eye. Which is just what we did when we found a snapping turtle on the Cherry Creek bike path. Like the rest of the cyclists, we swerved around this moss-covered lump of grumpy determination and stopped to gawk. She ignored us, continuing her slow progress towards wherever she felt she needed to be. Eventually, so did we. So, slowly, and with the embarrassment of a procrastinator finally getting around things he’s meant to do for a while, I’m digging into gigabytes of images and trying to write some stories, and I’m starting with a picture of that turtle. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
More to come,